Projects underway in seven communities around the nation are providing permanent and transitional housing and other support services to more than 200 households with families and individuals living with HIV/AIDS and informing the development of new cross-program approaches in HIV care. Seeking to better integrate and coordinate non-housing supportive services for people living with HIV (PLWH) with housing assistance, the projects advance the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS).
In September 2011, HUD awarded nearly $9 million in Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) competitive grant funding to projects in seven states. Through this three-year grant program, the seven HOPWA Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) grantees are providing housing assistance and supportive services to low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS and their families. Examples of the supportive services being provided include, assessment, case management, substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, nutritional services, and job training and placement assistance.
But these grantees are not merely providing housing and supportive services – as all HOPWA grantees do, they have embarked on focused efforts to do so while also working to better coordinate and streamline access to other existing local services and resources for low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS through communitywide strategies. Mainstream service programs that the grantees are seeking to enhance collaboration with include: the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), services available through the state’s Mental Health Block Grant and Substance Abuse Block Grant, Workforce Investment Act services, and the Welfare-to-Work grant program, as well as other state, local and private programs. The grantees’ efforts to create community-wide systems change in housing and services delivery are being documented in Integrated HIV/AIDS Housing Plans (IHHPs) that will be issued at the end of the third grant year.
HOPWA SPNS grants are supporting the following projects:
- Collaborative for Housing Integrated with Supportive Services (CHISS) , Los Angeles County Commission on HIV (Los Angeles, CA)
- JRI Health Youth Housing Initiative , Justice Resource Institute (Boston, MA)
- Maine Integrated HIV/AIDS Housing Plan , Frannie Peabody Center (Portland, ME)
- Springboard to Stability, Self-Sufficiency and Health Program , Portland Housing Bureau (Portland, OR)
- Foundations for Living Project , The Corporation for AIDS Research, Education, and Services, Inc. (CARES) (Albany, NY)
- Ex-Offender Housing and IHHP Planning Project , City of Dallas, Texas (Dallas, TX)
- Forging Useful Systems to Empower (FUSE) Project , River Region Human Services, Inc. (Jacksonville, FL)
The HOPWA SPNS initiative was developed in response to the National HIV/AIDS Strategy‘s call for enhanced collaboration at all levels to achieve its goals, which include reducing new HIV infections, increasing access to care for people living with HIV, and reducing HIV-related disparities. The grantees are working to accomplish these goals through improved community planning, resource utilization, and service integration, including actions to increase collaborative efforts with health care systems, Homeless Continuums of Care programs, affordable housing programs, employment programs, and other mainstream non-HOPWA resources. The seven projects are expected to become replicable models of improved coordination of housing and care for persons living with HIV/AIDS.
In addition to competitive grant funding, HUD has invested resources in a technical assistance initiative to support these SPNS grantees in their work to create systems change in their communities. Part of the technical assistance initiative is a small group learning component, where the grantees are working together in groups with specific focuses related to systems integration, planning, and coordination. For example, one small group is collaborating on increasing coordination with healthcare systems, while another group is focused on data integration. Through these groups, technical assistance providers are working with the HOPWA grantees to identify strategies to best coordinate and integrate with other relevant systems to better meet the needs of each project’s population of focus. The small group component also provides a platform for cross-grantee discussion on successes and challenges in implementing the activities supported by the SPNS grants.
HUD’s Office of HIV/AIDS Housing will be disseminating information detailing the grantees’ progress in implementing their SPNS grants. These documents will be made available to the public at http://www.HUD.gov and http://www.OneCPD.info . The grantees’ strategies describing each project’s efforts to forge local partnerships also will be available online by the end of 2013. At the end of the third and final grant year, the grantees are also required to share IHHPs reflecting the outcomes of the comprehensive coordination and integration efforts undertaken. Those plans will provide lessons learned and best practices from which other HOPWA grantees and stakeholders can learn and which will be used to inform future community policies and actions at all levels.
For more information on the HOPWA program, please visit: https://www.onecpd.info/hopwa/ and http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/comm_planning/aidshousing.